Research Week: Climate Change Solutions

Called “A Climate of Change at Carolina,” it features more than 60 events highlighting innovative research by faculty and students.(Photo: UNC)

Students, faculty and staff this week are demonstrating how their respective disciplines address climate change during the annual University Research Week.

Called “A Climate of Change at Carolina,” it features more than 60 events highlighting innovative research by faculty and students, who conduct work while their fields of study, technologies and the world around them changes, said Layla Dowdy ’16, director of communications for University Research Week.

“The extreme weather events of the past year have crystalized the importance of research that addresses and mitigates the detrimental effect of changing climates and environments,” Dowdy said.

University Research Week is an annual, pan-campus showcase designed to celebrate the work UNC researchers are conducting statewide and beyond while inspiring students to engage in independent research. It was started in 2018 by the Office of Undergraduate Research, is now co-produced with the Office of Research Communications and has become a staple among faculty, staff and students. Each year, different themes are used to showcase the range of Carolina research.

Since Monday, University Research Week has offered Campus Life Experience credits to students who attend some of the events as a means of encouraging them to engage in research. The credits are part of UNC’s new IDEAS in Action curriculum. [See “Recipe for Success?” September/October 2023 Review.] All UNC departments, centers and institutes were invited to participate to exhibit their research areas.

One of the highlights of this week is the virtual “Lunch & Learn” sessions, which cover various topics regarding climate change in physical and social environments across the state and worldwide. Health and Heat and Economics and Environment are included among the researchers’ work.

Other events include:

  • “From Trash to Treasure: Plastics and Sustainability,” led by Frank Leibfarth, associate professor of chemistry, which presents the history of plastic production and how innovations are creating a more environmentally sustainable route for plastics.
  • “Campus Green Roofs: Islands in the Sky,” a tour of green-roof installations on campus, which includes growing plants on top of buildings to conserve energy.
  • “Snapshot: Climate Exhibition Open House,” which shows photographs and reflections that provide a view into climate impacts across the southern states.
  • “Communicating in a Climate of Change,” a panel of science communicators who discuss how to communicate research-based environmental changes in a way that engages audiences and inspires collaboration. The panel was moderated by WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth.

To learn more and see the University Research Week events, visit this website.

Cameron Hayes Fardy ’23


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